Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Political Guru Sees Heavy Wrangling for Mayor Post

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Political Guru Sees Heavy Wrangling for Mayor Post

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage, Times-Union columnist

Jimmy Ray Bob was holding court at the big round table in the back of the Bluebird Cafe one morning this week.

The guru of all things political was giving his take on the mayor's race when the waitress stopped by.

"Want me to warm that up, hon?" she asked.

Jimmy Ray nodded yes and the waitress topped off his cup with steaming hot coffee. Jimmy Ray poured some into a saucer, blew on it to cool it and then slurped it down.

"Tell us more," one of the boys said.

"Well," Jimmy Ray began, "the Republicans have been getting most of the play so far. From what I hear, the three heavy-hitters in the race -- Mike Weinstein, Ginger Soud and John Peyton -- are determined to stay in until the end.

"That has Republican Party honchos as nervous as cats in a room full of rocking chairs because they can see a nasty campaign coming and the distinct possibility that the Republican vote will be splintered.

"And get this," Jimmy Ray continued. "The word going around now is that there's a very good chance that life is going to get even more complicated for the party honchos. Some folks are urging City Council President Matt Carlucci to get into the race and people say he's giving the idea very serious consideration.

"Of course, Carlucci is well-known, well-liked and a poll I've seen had Carlucci doing well against the other candidates at this point."

The waitress stopped by again to get the boys' breakfast orders. Jimmy Ray allowed as how he wasn't very hungry so he just wanted four eggs sunny-side up, two links of smoked sausage, cheese grits and biscuits.

"And don't forget to bring the hot sauce," Jimmy Ray said.

"Anyway," he said, "if Carlucci is going to run, he'll have to be careful. He wouldn't want a political race to mess up his last six months as council president, so for him timing will be critical."

The boys, busy eating, mumbled agreement.

Since I had already had my bran flakes at home that morning and wasn't eating, I took the opportunity to ask a question.

"We've heard a lot about the Republicans," I said. "What about the Democrats? …

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